On May 29, 2020, the Department of Family Protective Services (DFPS) released the Fiscal Year 2019 Report on Children and Youth Missing from DFPS Conservatorship & Human Trafficking Initiatives.
The Texas Family Code mandates that DFPS report yearly on the number of children under DFPS conservatorship who have gone missing, whether or not they returned, and if they were a victim of human trafficking while missing. The report also includes the gender and race of the children, what type of care they were in, and what type of trafficking they were victim of, if applicable.
DFPS had 51,417 children in conservatorship during FY 2019, and 1,973 (3.8 percent) of these children were reported missing. Out of these, 175 children (8 percent of children reported missing) were still missing as of August 2019. The number of children reported missing has increased for the last three years. DFPS attributes at least some of this increase to better reporting and tracking.
1,804 children who were recovered during FY 2019 gave reasons for why they were missing. The top three reasons for a missing event were:
- Dislike of rules at placement (24 percent),
- Anger at CPS or the system (19 percent), and
- Desire to be on one’s own (18 percent).
109 children were victimized in some way while they were missing, with 46 being sex trafficked, 72 sexually abused, and 19 physically abused. Be aware that the numbers do not add up to the total, because some youth fell into multiple categories.
Read the full report for more detailed breakdowns, including by age, race, county and more.